Opposition Rejects Results, Vows Large-Scale Rally Saturday

Addressing scores of opposition supporters outside the Parliament building in downtown Tbilisi on October 31 evening, Nika Melia, the United National Movement’s mayoral holeful for the Georgian capital, said the opposition will begin street rallies the next week against the “rigged elections.”

“These elections were not just totally rigged; [Georgian Dream authorities] dared to do everything with their violence, blackmailing and intimidation,” Nika Melia maintained, stressing that “We don’t accept these results.”

Melia said the opposition will first rally on Tuesday, November 2, in the coastal city of Batumi, where Giorgi Kirtadze of the UNM narrowly lost by 1,562 votes to Georgian Dream’s Archil Chikovani. As per preliminary results, Kirtadze received 48.982% (36,710 votes), while his GD rival obtained 51.018% (38,236).

The opposition will also rally in Kutaisi, another large city narrowly claimed by GD, and other runoff municipalities, the UNM leader noted, adding that large-scale protest will take place on the weekend on Freedom Square in Tbilisi.

Melia first named November 7 as the date for Tbilisi demonstration. Elene Khoshtaria, his running mate, later clarified to media the rally will take place on Saturday, November 6, instead.

November 7 marks the UNM-era police crackdown on opposition protests on November 7, 2007 in Tbilisi. Also on that day, opposition leaning Imedi TV and Kavkasia TV were raided by police and taken off air. Subsequently, a state of emergency was imposed. 508 people were treated in hospitals for injuries received in clashes.

Melia pledged that the rally in Tbilisi will be “different from other rallies in many regards,” expressing his hope that it will attract more voters than October 14 rally of several thousands demanding the release of jailed former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

He also said that in parallel with rallies, the opposition will engage in complaints and appeals process through the courts.

“Because we respect our strategic partners. We would like to convince our [international] friends in the reality that exists in this country, that institution[s] and court as such, do not exist in Georgia,” Melia noted.

Also during today’s gathering, MP Mamuka Khazaradze, Lelo party leader, announced his decision on quitting the Parliament. Khazaradze vowed to “fight for free Georgia” from the streets.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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